With horns honking, drums pounding, cowbells jangling and even a mariachi-esque band playing, a diverse group of organizations gathered in Union Square in the late afternoon yesterday to protest low wages as part of the New York Workers Rising Day of Action.
30 groups–including the Utility Workers Union of America, Make the Road New York, Local 338, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union–mingled together united in their discontent. The last time wages had been raised was three years ago to the day.
“Is the product worth more than the worker?” the speaker hollered into the crowd.
“No!” cried a third of the people present. The others stood relatively placidly with their signs and their handouts, letting them do the talking.
“We are worth it!” concluded the speaker, asking some members of the clergy to bless the protest before it set off.
It took over five minutes for the leviathan crowd to make it out of the square and into Broadway, intent on demonstrating in front of Chipotle and ConEdison. As the march proceeded, a few men hoisted a gold replica of the Wall Street bull onto their shoulders, the words, “GREED” and “FALSE IDOL” painted into the black platform.
Other posters conveyed the marchers’ mostly speechless frustration.
“Governor Cuomo does not care about union workers,” a banner grumbled widely.
“I went to law school but I make only $7.25 per hour as an [exploited] intern,” another poster read. The woman’s arm covered her employer’s name, but whoever they were she considered them “rich scumbags.”
“Pitt Romney,” exhibited one with a hand drawn Romney in a Bane costume and dollars wafting from his armpits.
“Another city is possible,” stated a third under the picture of a glowing fist.
Two rogue “Occupy” and “99%” flags made it into the fray as well.
Meanwhile, throughout the city other demonstrations occurred in all the New York City boroughs. There were marches at car washes and protests in front of Toys ‘R’ Us, JC Penny, Target and Dunkin’ Donuts, to name but a few. The march from Union Square, however, was the largest and the loudest–those horns telegraphed the protestors’ discontent throughout lower Manhattan long after the square had been emptied.
Watch a snippet of the protest below: